DPG Webinar on “The Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan: Regional Dynamics and Implications for India”
On September 10, 2021 the Delhi Policy Group hosted a webinar on the subject “The Taliban Takeover of Afghanistan: Regional Dynamics and Implications for India”. The event brought together strategists, academics, civil society activists and policymakers from India, Afghanistan and the United States.
In a wide-ranging discussion, there was agreement among the panelists on certain key issues. The hasty and chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces, which led to the swift Taliban takeover of the country, has been very damaging for the people of Afghanistan. Despite some attempts to paint the current Taliban leadership in a more moderate hue, it is now clear that there is little difference in ideology between Taliban 1.0 and Taliban 2.0. A larger impact of the withdrawal has been on the credibility of the U.S. as a reliable partner.
Some of the panelists felt that with the U.S. exiting Afghanistan, there is an opportunity to deal more sternly with Pakistan’s support to the Taliban and other terrorist groups operating in that country. Others were of the view that for the U.S. to continue anti-terror operations within Afghanistan, particularly through drone attacks, it could require Pakistan’s assistance. If as a result the U.S. appears soft on terrorism emanating from Pakistan, this will inevitably put a strain on India-U.S. ties.
As far as India is concerned, the Taliban takeover has increased the country’s security challenges from Islamist extremism and aggravated its western arc of crisis. There are also geographical constraints that limit India’s capacity to directly influence the situation in Afghanistan. At the same time, there are historical linkages between India and Afghanistan and there is goodwill among their people. India has the potential to provide development assistance and to support the aspirations of the Afghan people for advancement under an inclusive regime. India should not be in rush to provide legitimacy to the Taliban dispensation, take a long-term view and remain prepared for opportunities that will arise.
The event profile and agenda can be seen here.